Custom IEM Model Overview 

64 Audio makes nine custom in-ear monitor (CIEM) models ranging from 2-18 drivers per side which cost between $499-$2,999. Our goal with the whole product range is to offer the best possible sounding monitor at each price point. Regardless of driver-count we aim to get the most out of components for balanced, accurate and musical IEMs. All of our models reflect that signature sound, and with the increase of drivers and cost you get increased fidelity/resolution.

For more IEM info take a look at our Educational Series.

custom N8 in-ear monitors on a table

N8 Story

Our N8 Custom In-Ear Monitor (CIEM) is one of the more anomalous products for many reasons. The name doesn’t start with an “A” like the rest of our CIEMs do, the number doesn’t correlate with the driver count and there isn’t an “s” or a “t” at the end of it. What makes this CIEM so unique?

To understand this CIEM you must first get to know Nathan East. Nathan East is a Grammy Award winning American jazz, R&B, and rock bass player and vocalist. Appearing on more than 2,000 recordings, East is one of the most recorded bass players in the history of music. As someone who’s had a longstanding successful line of signature Yamaha bass guitars and pedals, who works in the studio and on stage, and who has impeccable musical/sonic taste Nathan East was the perfect partner to develop the world’s first signature In-Ear Monitor; hence the name N8, pronounced “Nate.”

N8 is a nine-driver CIEM that, although developed with a bassist, isn’t exclusively designed for bass players but for anyone in search of a rich, deep saturated tone. It was released in 2018 along with a range-wide CIEM revamp. A3e, A4t, A6t and N8 were all built with technology that was developed for our flagship models like A12t and A18t. When our patented “tia” technology was brought into our CIEMs the “t” suffix was added to the name to delineate them from models without it, with one special exception being N8. Although N8 is built with all four of our patented pieces of technology (Apex, tia, LID and 3Dfit) and houses nine drivers (not 8) we stuck with the more simple designation as a nod to our collaborator.

Hybrid Drivers

N8 is built with two different types of speaker drivers, or drivers for short. The history of CIEMs is disputed with some claiming to have built the worlds first CIEMs using a single “Dynamic” driver (DD) while others claim to have done the same with “balanced armature” drivers (BA). Typically most CIEMs are built with a combination of multiple BAs, with a rare few competitor models being made with a single DD. The term “hybrid” is used in our industry when a CIEM is made with a combination of multiple driver types, like N8.

N8 is a four-way system meaning we have four separate frequency bands being handled independently by dedicated drivers. A single DD delivers bass, six BAs handle the mid-bass, a single BA takes care of the high-mids, and our patented “tia” driver extends through the highs. Although our direct radiating “tia” driver is such a distinct modification to traditional BA design it still technically uses the same mechanics as other BAs.

The reason N8 is built using a single 9mm DD to deliver bass is simply because it can produce more bass with one DD driver than other IEMs with 6-8 BAs can. Lower frequency drivers require greater excursion, or how far the cone of the speaker linearly travels from its resting position; they’re designed to move more air and have more excursion than those of higher frequency. Not only does N8’s DD more easily deliver higher amplitude in the bass, the DD offers a particular texture to the bass. Rather than focusing on extreme articulation you get deep enveloping bass.

custom N8 in-ear monitors with wooden faceplate on a brown table top.

N8 Sound

Analog vs Digital or Tube vs Solid-State. These are debates that musicians, audio engineers, and music enthusiasts have had for a very long time. Some of the differences between these modes of recording, performing, and music playback can be measured while others are less tangible and are almost best described as different feelings or vibes. Analog and Tube are often associated with warm and saturated; more inviting. Digital and Solid-State evoke a more quick and accurate musical presentation; even surgical if needed.

If A18t (our most accurate reference monitor) can be painted as Digital/Solid-State then N8 can conversely present as a more analog/tube sounding CIEM. While there’s plenty of bass, N8 really shines in the mid-range. Instruments sitting in that range of frequencies, like vocals and piano, come across as having more character and depth. While less articulate in the high-mids compared to some of our more reference focused CIEMs, N8 still maintains a beautiful airy high frequency response.

A final note regarding N8’s sound, it is our only CIEM that uses the m15 modules to achieve its target frequency response rather than our m20 modules. The DD has such a high output that the m15 is used to regulate it a bit, but since N8 ships with both m15 and m20 modules, you can always increase the bass if needed.

Custom-Fit, Custom-Look, & Custom-Made

Each 64 Audio CIEM is hand built in Vancouver Washington by highly specialized technicians.

Ear impressions are first trimmed and scanned into our 3D detailing software. Our patented 3Dfit technology is used to perfectly recreate the intricacies of your ear shape. We virtually accommodate for all of the internal components before 3D printing with hypoallergenic acrylic material.

Once the shell is printed our assemblers insert the pre-soldered driver packs associated with the model of the IEM.

hands assembling 64 Audio custom in-ears under microscope

The assembled CIEMs are later completed with a faceplate. Along with the 5 shell options, there are dozens of faceplate colors and materials which translates to hundreds of variations. On top of all of those options we’re also able to use custom artwork to make your IEMs truly one-of-a-kind.

earphones aligned on a white background to form a 64 Audio logo

N8 Specs

  • Transducer Type/Count: 8 precision BA drivers and 1 dynamic driver
  • Transducer Configuration: 1 tia high, 1 hi-mid, 6 mid, 1 DD low
  • Bore Configuration: Single
  • Freq. Response: 10Hz – 20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 6Ω @ 1kHz
  • Crossover: Integrated 4-way passive crossover
  • Isolation: -15dB w/ m15 module, -20dB w/ m20 module

N8 Technology

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Air Pressure Exchange (Apex) is a patented vent that releases air pressure in a sealed ear canal. In addition to relieving air pressure, it also maintains standard IEM levels of noise isolation. The attenuation of ambient noise and pressure relief enables musicians and music enthusiasts to listen more comfortably for longer. This venting alleviates listener fatigue and allows for a much more realistic soundstage. Apex comes in three module variations available for N8: mX, m15 and m20.

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Tubeless In-Ear Audio (tia) is a patented IEM design methodology that aims to reduce unwanted resonance and distortion for a transparent and lifelike sound signature. The tia system is comprised of three major elements: open balanced armature tia drivers, the tia single-bore design, and tia acoustic chambers. N8 features two major elements of the tia system: the tia driver and the tia single-bore design.

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3D-Fit preserves the detail of your ear impressions using a new process of digital rendering and 3D-printing. The patented process of incorporating acoustical tuning features within an IEM’s shell allows for designs that would otherwise be impossible to build using traditional methods. We incorporate these advanced and uniquely complex features into the shell in order to manipulate the audio produced by the IEM. This process also reduces distortion in the impression for the most precise and comfortable custom in-ear monitors available.

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Linear Impedance Design (LID) is a patented circuit that corrects the non-linear electrical resistance of the multiple driver-sets comprising this nine driver IEM. Varying source amplifier output impedance in devices like smartphones, body packs, DAC/amps, and DAPs typically results in varying frequency response across them, depending on the increase in resistance. Restoring proper interaction with the source and preserving the desired sound signature enables a consistent reliable sound.